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International Contemporary Ensemble


Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall
50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
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Free, reservations recommended

Part of the Fourth Biennial Rubin Institute for Music Criticism

Pre-concert talk at 7 PM with Alex Ross from The New Yorker. Join us by clicking on the blue "Reserve a Seat" button at the top of the page. 

 About Alex Ross

Alex Ross has been the music critic at The New Yorker since 1996. From 1992 to 1996, he worked as a music critic for The New York Times. His first book, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007), won a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Guardian First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction. His second book, the essay collection Listen to This (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2010), won an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for music writing. He is completing a book entitled Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music, a study of Wagner’s influence on literature and the arts. Ross was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2008. He has also received the Belmont Prize for Contemporary Music in Munich, an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Ross writes a blog with the same title of his award-winning book, The Rest is Noise.

About the International Contemporary Ensemble

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is an artist collective that is transforming the way music is created and experienced. As performer, curator, and educator, ICE explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The ensemble’s 35 members are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners, and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time. Works by emerging composers have anchored ICE’s programming since its founding in 2001, and the group’s recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music’s present.

A recipient of the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, ICE was also named the 2014 Musical America Ensemble of the Year. The group currently serves as artists-in-residence at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, and previously led a five-year residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. ICE was featured at the Ojai Music Festival from 2015 to 2017, and at recent festivals abroad such as gmem-CNCM-marseille and Vértice at Cultura UNAM, Mexico City. Other performance stages have included the Park Avenue Armory, The Stone, ice floes at Greenland’s Diskotek Sessions, and boats on the Amazon River.

New initiatives include OpenICE, made possible with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which offers free concerts and related programming wherever ICE performs, and enables a working process with composers to unfold in public settings. DigitICE, a free online library of over 350 streaming videos, catalogues the ensemble’s performances. ICE's First Page program is a commissioning consortium that fosters close collaborations between performers, composers, and listeners as new music is developed. EntICE, a side-by-side education program, places ICE musicians within youth orchestras as they premiere new commissioned works together; inaugural EntICE partners include Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and The People's Music School in Chicago. Summer activities include Ensemble Evolution at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in which young professionals perform with ICE and attend workshops on topics from interpretation to concert production. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE. Read more at

About the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism

Situated within the artistic and intellectual vibrancy of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism brings together leading music journalists, renowned musicians, and aspiring young writers, combining the wisdom and insight of today's highly esteemed critics, the artistry and daring of acclaimed musicians, and the energy and promise of tomorrow's music journalists.

Founded in 2011 by Stephen Rubin, president and publisher of Henry Holt & Co., the biennial Rubin Institute features keynote addresses by the nation’s top critics (Writers Panel) and public concerts by acclaimed musicians from the solo, chamber, orchestral, and operatic stages. The performances are reviewed by a hand-selected group of student writers (Fellows) from renowned colleges and conservatories across the country, and the Writers Panel critiques their work in private workshops and public sessions. The Institute culminates with the awarding of the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism to the Fellow who demonstrates exceptional promise in music criticism. Institute graduates have gone on to write for distinguished publications such as The New Yorker and The Boston Globe.


Mario Diaz de Leon
Mysterium (2017)

Michele Abondano
Infinitely ethereal (2018)

Wojtek Blecharz
Small Talks (2012-13)

Seth Cluett
a state of mutual tension (2018)   

Anna Thorvaldsdottir
Sequences (2016)


Isabel Gleicher, flute
Joshua Rubin, clarinet
Ryan Muncy, saxophone
Rebekah Heller, bassoon
Ross Karre, live sound